A soccer goalkeeper is a rare breed to say the least.
Goalkeepers are part-time psychologists, full time defenders; team communicators and gluttons for punishment. Many a goalkeeper has ended up on the bottom of the heap in a pileup at the net.
Other times, the keeper is the Maytag repairman, with little to do while 22 field players are battling it out elsewhere on the turf.
The Ladue-Frontenac Patch went on a search to find out what makes the local keepers tick.
Here’s what we found, surveying three of the best keepers in the area:
Senior Andrea Hermann of Villa Duchesne:
Good with the hands but really smart with the brains. Hermann is a Missouri top 100 scholar, and she will play intramural next season at Duke University.
Hermann is 9-1 in the nets; with 3 shutouts an a 0.860 goals against average.
Age 18, she splits duties with Hannah Benben, the Saints’ other keeper. “I really look up to Hannah. She is so athletic and has taught me so much about goalkeeping,” said Hermann.
Hermann has been at goalkeeping a very long time. She first put on the gloves and jersey in the 4th grade.
“I didn’t want to do all that running around, so I decided to be the goalkeeper,” she recalled.
This popular senior knows what it takes to get the job done: “You have to be quick on your feet. You have to focus on the position. You have to be organized and ready. You are definitely going to come into contact with other players, so you have to have your defense lined up to help out.”
Hermann played CYC soccer for the three “L’s”, that being Lourdes, (St.) Lukes and Little Flower. She’s gotten some training from Tony Piccini, keeper coach and JV coach at Villa. She admits, the position can be stressful. “As a goalkeeper, you are going to take a lot of shots, and the best way of learning is just by doing,” she said.
Junior Fran Shannon of Ladue Horton Watkins:
Originally from Alabama, Shannon, 17 is more a doer than a talker. “When I’m on the field I don’t have a lot to say, I will communicate with my teammates more with phrases than long sentences,” she said.
Shannon has 9 wins in nets with 5 shutouts an an o.859 goals against average.
Shannon, who started as a keeper with the JV team her freshman year spends most practice time working with the defensive backs.
She moved from field player to goalkeeper at age 12 with her club team the Metro Strikers.
She has a good idea what it takes to respond to the action.
“You must stay attentive and alert. You have to shuffle your feet a lot when the ball is coming to you. You must make sure your defenders are in a good position to help out.”
Shannon plays soccer year-round. Her top choice would be playing for LSU after graduation. “I think I’m more an SEC (Southeastern Conference type), hoping to get back home on a scholarship.
Shannon injured her shoulder her freshman year and her knee last year. She’s healthy now and likes playing the position.
Sophomore Haley Botteron, John Burroughs:
She has a twin sister Sarah on the same team.
Botteron has recorded 3 win with 1 shutout and a stingy 0.772 goals against average.
She too has manned the nets since the 4th grade. Her club team is Scott Gallagher.
Botteron has a good idea what a goalkeeper ought to be doing.
“We need to come out high on the ball and cut down angles. We need to be talking often with our teammates. Going from side to side, there’s a lot of net to cover,”she said.
Her goalkeeping coach Jerry DiSalvo is willing to pass out the praise. “She is a good keeper. She has good movement and very good vision. She has a good look of the entire field and she can punt that ball,” said DiSalvo, describing shots that cover more than half the field.
Indeed, covering the soccer net takes a lot of speed, skill, quick reaction and a good solid mind. The net is a gigantic 8 feet by 24 feet in overall size.
These three goalkeepers are doing a very good job of getting it done for their respective teams.